Visit Scandinavia and Nordic Countries with Us
If you dream to visit Scandinavia or Nordic Countries, chances are you’ll come up with some of the following images: Northern Lights, Santa Claus, Vikings, cold Baltic and Barents seas, fjords, and King Crabs. However, there is so much more to these northern countries than these stereotypes! Read on to find out what sets the Nordic countries apart from one another, so you can better know what to expect if you visit. By the way, “Scandinavia” typically refers to just Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, while “the Nordic countries” includes Iceland and Finland as well.
A stereotypical Nordic meal will probably include some sort of smoked or cured fish, brown bread, cheese, and jam. Although all of the Nordic countries do include such items, there’s incredible diversity. For example, a traditional Icelandic dish is hákarl, which is shark meat that has been fermented and cured for four months. Rumor has it that because the ammonia content is so high, most people gag when they first attempt a bite! On the other hand, traditional Norwegian cuisine relies heavily on game meat and lamb. Swedish cuisine blends Scandinavian and Germanic traditions, featuring sausages, meatballs, cabbage, and lots of fish.
By now, you’ve probably heard of the Danish concept of hygge, which is most closely translated to ‘coziness.’ Hygge is a defining characteristic of Danish culture; snowy evenings spent curled up by the fire with a mug of tea, long days spent cooking and chatting with close friends, and board game nights are popular ways to spend leisure time in Denmark. Saunas are a large part of Finnish home life, with an average of one sauna per household in Finland. These hot chambers play an integral role in a Finn’s life, as they are used for relaxation, keeping clean, and socializing with friends and family. Be warned, though, that in most Finnish saunas it is required to be in the nude! If you’re uncomfortable going al fresco, perhaps you’d be better off taking a dip in one of Iceland’s many hot springs.
The Nordic countries have a surprisingly diverse music scene. Although Sweden is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of pop supergroup Abba, several modern acts have emerged–First Aid Kit, The Tallest Man on Earth, Robyn, and the late Avicii all hail from Sweden. Norway boasts a thriving heavy metal scene, where bands infuse elements of Norse paganism and costuming into their acts. The modern indie zeitgeists Bjork and Of Monsters and Men both come from Iceland.
Hopefully, this short list has piqued your interest in the diversity of Nordic culture! Whether you stargaze in an Icelandic hot spring, enjoy a hygge evening in Denmark, or unwind in a Finnish sauna, may your Nordic travels be merry.
Visit Scandinavia and Nordic Countries with Nordic Cruises!